Le diable à quatre, ou La femme capricieuse

Grand Ballet in four acts
Music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni & Ludwig Minkus

World Première
11th August 1845
Théâtre National de l’Opéra, Paris
Choreography by Joseph Mazilier

Original 1845 Cast
Mazourka
Carlotta Grisi

Count Polinski
Lucien Petipa

Moscow Première
27th December [O.S. 15th December] 1846
Imperial Bolshoi Theatre

Saint Petersburg Première
26th November [O.S. 14th November] 1850
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre

Première of Petipa’s revival
4th February [O.S. 23rd January] 1885
Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre

Original 1885 Cast
Countess Berta
Eugenia Sokolova

The Basket Maker’s Wife
Maria Gorshenkova

Count Polinski
Pavel Gerdt

Plot
La femme capricieuse tells the story of two women, diametrically opposite in character from one another – one is a hot tempered, capricious countess, who acknowledges no authority, not even her husband’s rule; the other is a gentle, good-natured basket maker’s wife, likable in her family life. In order to correct the character of the Countess Berta, a benevolent magician, whom she has offended, turns her from a countess to a maid, while making the basket maker’s wife into a countess. The metamorphosis lasts for twenty-four hours and in the end, the mission is achieved, with the unruly Countess Berta mending her ways.

Lithograph of Act 2, with Carlotta Grisi as Mazourka and Lucien Petipa as Count Polinski (1845)
Lithograph of Act 2, with Carlotta Grisi as Mazourka and Lucien Petipa as Count Polinski (1845)